For cheap eats, you can’t do better than Joe’s Diner (340/776-6888, 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $3–9), an open-air lunch counter around the corner from the post office. Joe’s Diner opens early for the breakfast crowd, serving johnnycakes, pâtés (fried meat-stuffed bread), and eggs. The rest of the day you can choose from sandwiches, burgers, and fried chicken.
You will smell Uncle Joe’s BBQ (Waterfront, 340/693-8806, 6–9 p.m. daily, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat., $6–12) before you see this tiny barbecue stand, which teems with people even during the week. Joe grills chicken, ribs, and steak and serves them with sides like rice and peas, coleslaw, and macaroni salad. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more filling and better-tasting meal for under $10.
At lunchtime, St. Johnians head to Dolphin Market (Centerline Road, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Mon.–Fri., $5–10), where the takeout deli serves generous plates of local dishes like grilled fish, barbecued chicken, and stewed oxtail. Side dishes include boiled plantain, sweet potatoes, macaroni pie, and rice and peas. Forget about the Caribbean-style fare of Cruz Bay ’s more genteel eateries; this is your best bet for real local food. Get here early (around noon) for the best choice. This place serves takeout only.
All the sandwiches at Deli Grotto (Mongoose Junction , 340/777-3061, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., $4–10) weigh in at under $10, making it a good place for a low-key and affordable meal. Breakfast here is a real attraction, with breakfast sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, French toast, and oatmeal. And don’t forget the smoothies, coffee, tea, and chai. Dine in air-conditioning or outside on the patio.
On the road to the Westin, Simple Feast (South Shore Rd., 340/714-7989, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily) is a small grocery with a nice deli in the back. It also serves carryout dinners, salads, and desserts.